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Curcumin

Daily supplements of curcumin may benefit cardiovascular health to the same extent as exercise for postmenopausal women (data from a clinical trial conducted in Japan and published in the journal Nutrition Research Nov 2012).

Vascular health, as measured by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), improved equally in groups of women receiving the curcumin supplements and those receiving aerobic exercise training.

Another study, published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition indicated that decreased FMD is reported to be a predictor of future adverse cardiovascular events, with every one percent decrease in FMD associated with a 12% increase in risk.

I recommend regular ingestion of curcumin to my patients with spinal stenosis, numbness and tingling, spinal degeneration, and now with this report I’ll suggest it as a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. If a women can’t exercise curcumin is an alternative.

Curcumin has been linked to a range of health benefits, including potential protection against Alzheimer’s and protection against heart failure, diabetes and more.

The new study suggests that endothelial function may also be added to the list of potential benefits from curcumin.

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba recruited 32 post-menopausal women and assigned them to one of three groups: The first group acted as the controls, the second group underwent an aerobic exercise training regimen and the third group received a daily dose of 25 mg of curcumin.

The study lasted for eight weeks, after which the results showed that FMD increased significantly and equally by about 1.5% in both the exercise and curcumin groups, compared with no changes in the control group.

“The mechanism responsible for the curcumin-ingestion-induced improvement in endothelial function is unclear,” the researchers said.

“Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), suggesting that its effect on endothelial function may be mediated by the suppression of inflammation and/or oxidative stress via down-regulation of TNF-alpha. However, TNF-alpha levels were not assessed in this study.

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